DAVIE (CBSMiami) – As the Miami Dolphins hit the field for the first week of voluntary OTA practices, there is a clear difference from the past several years.
Even in springtime, it’s been a while since there was any question about who would be under center for the Miami Dolphins come September.
Ryan Tannehill had been the starting quarterback for Miami since being drafted back in 2012. He won the job during training camp, beating out Matt Moore and an injured David Garrard, and never relinquished it.
Now it’s 2019 and there are two gentlemen at Dolphins practice wearing red, non-contact jerseys whose performances over the next four months will be analyzed and dissected until someone takes the first snap on September 8th against Baltimore.
Just days after Tannehill’s trade to Tennessee back in March, Miami signed 14-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two year, $11 million deal.
The Dolphins then acquired Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in 2018, from Arizona at last month’s NFL Draft.
WATCH: Ryan Fitzpatrick Speaks To The Media After OTA Practice
Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate, has certainly been around the block during his career; the Dolphins are the eighth team he’s played for.
With all those years under his belt, a quarterback competition against a high draft pick is nothing new to Fitzpatrick.
“I’ve always had to earn every opportunity that I’ve received, so I love it. I love the competition,” he said. “I love being out here and every day, whether it’s a competition with myself or somebody else, I’m trying to be the best me I can be.”
Fitzpatrick seemed relaxed and in control during Tuesday’s OTA (Organized Team Activities) practice, making quick decisions and consistently finding his targets.
Rosen’s day was a bit more tumultuous.
The second year quarterback fumbled several snaps during individual drills and threw a pick-six during team drills, but he also made several impressive throws that show why he was a top pick last year.
“My head is spinning, but I think a lot of that is just trying to weather the storm as much as you can,” Rosen said. “I’m walking into receiver rooms thinking it’s the bathroom, so there’s just a lot of little things that go into it, but when you step on the field you kind of got to let all that go and play football.”
One thing that has been made clear by new Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is that while the starting job is up for grabs, he expects his players to remember they are teammates first.
“There’s competition, but at the same time, we’re trying to build a team,” he said. “So we’re all trying to help each other become the best version of ourselves on the field.”
When asked what he’s looking for out of his quarterbacks, Flores had a reasonable, albeit long list.
“We’re looking for leadership. We’re looking for accuracy. We’re looking for an understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively from a protection standpoint, from an alignment standpoint. We’re looking for guys who can consistently move the ball down the field,” said Flores.
WATCH: Josh Rosen Speaks To The Media After OTA Practice
During Tuesday’s practice, Fitzpatrick worked with the first team and Rosen with the second.
That’s a fairly expected development as Fitzpatrick is a proven veteran and Rosen, well, let’s just say he had a rough rookie season.
“He’s a talented player,” Flores said of Rosen. “[He has a] big arm; but like everyone else, he’s got a long way to go [with] fundamentals, technique [and the] playbook.”
As for Fitzpatrick, Flores says he “has a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience.”
“I expect Ryan to compete for the starting position,” Flores added. “I expect him to lead from the quarterback room but really the entire offense.”
The hope is that Fitzpatrick will take Rosen under his wing and show him the ropes of what it means to be a professional quarterback, but for Rosen to take advantage of everything Fitzpatrick has to offer, the 22-year-old will have to take the initiative.
Fitzpatrick has plenty he can teach Rosen, but the veteran is a lead-by-example kind of guy.
“I think the way that I’ve done it throughout my career, whether I’m the guy or not the guy, is I try to prepare the best way I can prepare and do the things that have gotten me to where I am in my career,” Fitzpatrick explained. “If guys choose to do that as an example and follow it, they can. If they don’t, they can do whatever they want. But I’m a guy that’s going to work hard and try to lead by example. If people want to follow, they can.”